Tonight 40 years ago, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon.
A recollection via the New York Post this morning:
This incident took place on Dec. 8, 1980.
Later that afternoon, Chapman did get to see Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, in front of the Dakota, where they lived.
He proffered a copy of their just-released “Double Fantasy” album and a Bic pen.
Lennon signed the cover with its romantic Kishin Shinoyama photo of him and Ono touching lips.
When the couple returned home from a recording studio at 10:50 in the evening, Chapman was, once again, in front of the Dakota.
Lennon and Ono emerged from their limo.
Lennon and Chapman briefly locked eyes.
As Lennon turned away, Chapman assumed a combat position and shot at his onetime idol.
Four hollow-point bullets hit their target.
Lennon stumbled toward the Dakota lobby, crashed through the front door and collapsed.
According to “Last Days,” doorman Jose Perdomo knocked the gun out of Chapman’s hand.
The killer then stood calmly and read his paperback copy of “The Catcher in the Rye.”
Describing Lennon as musical performer would take volumes as he excelled in so much, not only with The Beatles, but in a massive solo career, which sadly lasted just a bit more than a decade. “Imagine” was just a start, and it’s nearly-cruel to imagine all he could have produced if he’d lived as long as say, Paul McCartney.
Lennon, however, wasn’t my favorite Beatle (we all had a ‘favorite‘ Beatle back in the day), which was forever George Harrison, who coincidentally died on my birthday in 2001.
Lennon’s assassinarion, horribly, was the second of a personal double-whammy during this time 40 years ago.
One month and one day earlier, my longtime, all-time most-favorite actor, Steve McQueen, died in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he had underwent an unorthodox cancer treatment that involved, among other things, coffee enemas and a therapy derived from apricot pits. On November 6, 1980, he had surgery to remove cancerous masses from his body; he died the following day.
A really didn’t know McQueen was even sick, though, I’d spied a National Enquirer tabloid in a grocey store check-out line a few weeks earlier, which carried a blaring headline that McQueen had cancer. Shit, it was the fucking Enquirer, and didn’t put it down as gospel.
(Illustration found here).